School Timing Musings

I read this really interesting post on the Parentous website last week. About a mother’s worry of waking up her child early to get ready for school. Do read before you continue with my post here.

My daughter has been an early riser since she was born.She used to get up by 4 every morning for a feed and would sleep only after 9 when she had her bath. Eventually when I started office, she would get up by 5 every.single.morning. She didn’t know the meaning of weekends obviously. Which meant that I had to do all the cooking and stuff BEFORE that.

Then she started daycare. Her daycare would start at 8 in the morning, which meant leaving home at about 7.30 AM. She would still be getting up at about 5.30 everyday. And then when she started school, her timings were from 8.15 to 11.15. Which still meant leaving home by 7 ish to catch the school bus by 7.35 AM.

So do I feel it’s affecting her health? Not really. I am a big fan of, infact, morning school. Schools that start at 7 and end by 1. The good part is you get up early, eat a great breakfast at school and come home for lunch. Snooze a little, do some homework and go out to play and go to bed early.

The school timings from 9 to 4 somehow remind me of office timings and the drawback is you don’t get time for anything, neither in the morning nor in the evening. Plus lunch at school, bah :(

I guess to each his/her own. In case of early morning school, here is what my mother followed and here is what I follow as well

1. Milk in the morning after brushing teeth is compulsory unless R is really sick. One full glass, no questions asked

2. Sleeping early by 9.30 max. That’s like the upper limit. Most days the lights are off by 9. No TV on weekdays, helps me follow this rule pretty easily

3. Her daycare ensures she sleeps in the afternoon for at least an hour. Most people frown on the habit of afternoon sleeping (it adds to the weight, it makes people lazy, yaada yaada) but my amma has been sleeping in the afternoon for almost all her life for about 20-30 minutes and I find her in pretty good health eh?

4. Giving R something to eat in the bus takes away the tension of her not eating anything till 9.30 in the morning. I usually take dry fruits, banana, chocos (on rare days!), khakhara, and sometimes biscuits. This ensures she is not totally hungry (she has had milk anyways) by the time she eats her tiffin in school

5. Giving a healthy tiffin to school. Whole wheat sandwiches, idlis,dosas, poha, roti bhindi, dal rice are the usual ones in her lunch box. It’s a good thing that her school insists on home cooked, no junk food. (though I have seen some children get cream biscuits to school, but as of now the brat has been listening to me!)

Having said all this, I do believe that children should get ample sleep because lack of sleep affects their health a lot!

So what’s your idea? Morning school, mid day school, or afternoon school?

PS – The brat’s school timings change from 11.15 to 5.15 from next year  till her class 4 (boohooohooo!) I hate afternoon school.

Earlier posted here


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47 Responses to School Timing Musings

  1. Anvita says:

    Wow, I , till now had no idea that there is such a thing as morning or mid day or evening school. When I was in school, and that was less than a decade ago, we just had morning school. In Dehradun, I had school from 8 am to 11:30 am at first and then that increased to 8 am to 1:30 pm as I went to higher classes. In England, it was the same. In Hyderabad, it was 8:30 am to 3 pm and in Kuwait it was 7:30 am to 2:30 pm.

    I had no idea that there is even the option of attending in the morning or afternoon! Is this just a Mumbai thing or widespread otherwise?

    • R's Mom says:

      No no, its pretty common…usually when schools dont have enough rooms they divide the kids into two shifts…we had afternoon shifts even in Baroda when were studying!

      • Anvita says:

        Oh ok!

        Well, in that case, I would definitely go for mornings then! It gives the kids so much more time to do homework AND play in the afternoons and evenings.

        When I was a kid, I would get back from school, eat, finish my homework (never could manage to sleep in the afternoon) and then it was play time, which basically meant my parents trying to get me to go out and play with the other kids while I just wanted to finish the Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl book I’d picked up. Going to school in the afternoon would mean so much less of that. By the time you get home, eat and finish your homework, it’s already dark outside, which means no outdoor play time. I really wouldn’t wish that on a child…

  2. Veens says:

    My hubs and me went to he 7am- 12:30pm school timings in summers and 8:00 to 1:00pm school in winters. So, early on – we knew our son will be a morning school goer (and will have schedule like that); but he (like me) is not a morning person. I really like your routine, and I am still working on one for us (even though I am Housewife :-/). But I do believe in afternoon naps – the 1 hour he sleeps – that 1 hour is my “me” time or on somedays I sleep with him too).
    I do believe mine would be sleeping through the afternoon classes and jumping in the evening ones lol! Mornings is the right time, he is AWAKE, and he is not distracted by the weather (too hot, mama) and all the other imaginary stuff that distracts them 😀

  3. Maya says:

    Okay.. Personally, I am a morning person and love my early mornings. So, I am all for morning schools! (Didn’t even know the concept of afternoon school existed until I read your post!)

    When my kids moved from a ‘come-at-whatever-time-you-want’ nursery school to a ‘one-hour-travel-time-to-reach-a-8.45AM-beginning-school’, we had to make a lot of adjustments. But, I think now that our plan is in place, I find no qualms with it! We wrap up things the previous day by 8PM max and are off to bed by 8.30. Which means, we are up and about by 6! (Altho there are days when we cry and throw tantrums, on most days it works!)

    Well.. Early to bed and early to rise makes a mom less cranky and at peace! 🙂

  4. Deepa says:

    Hey RM,

    What an apt post for today…just this morning my son S missed his school van – woke up late, bathed late, didn’t eat breakfast, still missed the van! I had to drop him at school 😦


    I am so pissed off……

    Guess I should wake him up earlier :/…my bad!


  5. The Bride says:

    I was quite amused by that article and the handwringing over the toll early wake-up takes on the minds of young ones. Actually, I am quite bemused when parents speak of the hardships of waking their kids up as I have the opposite problem – my kids have always woken up early, even before me. To my eternal relief they stay asleep till 6.30 am these days, and we must have a curtain to black out the sun or they will be up at the first rays. That lady didn’t mention when her child sleeps…I’ve noticed that many of the children who wake up late, also sleep late. Though maybe some kids just have a sleep late-get up late rhythm. And I know some parents prefer to have their kids sleep late so they can spend more time with them after work, so I think the parents’ lifestyle also has an impact here.

    I think 9 am or 8.30 am is a good start time though, as then kids are on a similar schedule to parents and it gives more window for kids who live far away.

    I am convinced that school, especially for young kids, should be in the morning and kids should have a nap in the afternoon. An afternoon nap is the body’s natural rhythm, it’s almost a universal thing and very healthy. Frankly, I think adults should have a place to go nap in the afternoon as well. Just because capitalism wants us to work all day doesn’t mean we have to believe that the healthy or even productive way to be.

    PS: If Indimommy allowed comments using a blog ID, I’d comment there more.

    • R's Mom says:

      LOL on your kids waking up early..I did have that issue with R …she just didnt get the concept of weekend!

      yes, I guess it does depend on the parents’s lifestyle. RD and I make it a point to go to bed early on week days.

      I loved that afternoon nap para…should send it to Amma hehehe 🙂

      Well, I will speak to Preethi about it, I am glad you read it 🙂

  6. Rachna says:

    I personally prefer morning school. Like R, both my sons are early risers. They are awake by 6.30 or 6.45 which is the time by which I have finished packing their dabbas. They have school from 8.30 to 3.10 and come home by 3.40. I wish they could come by 2, but this is the way it is. And yes, they always leave after eating a full bowl of cereal and almonds. I pack them two dabbas for short break and lunch. And they are off to sleep latest by 9.30 pm everyday except weekends when I allow them a wee bit leeway especially since the elder one has now started watching football matches :). I guess, it just is a matter of habit and what routine their parents have followed around them. Setting a routine makes things so much easier. And yes, they get up early even on holidays when I want to sleep in a bit longer :).

    • R's Mom says:

      Ah well, 3.40 is late na…but you give them two dabbas thats nice 🙂 they can come back and have milk 🙂

      yaa…RD allows R to watch some TV on weekends as well 🙂

      I agree, its the parents who set the routine up till a certain age at least

  7. Pepper says:

    My school started at 7:15 am and the last bell rang at 1:30 pm. I was home by 2 everyday and had the whole afternoon + evening to myself for home and play. I am not a morning person, but I strongly believe that early morning discipline (during school years atleast) is very important. I don’t understand why they’re starting the concept of afternoon school these days. Or perhaps I do understand. Most schools are cheaping it out by having fewer classrooms and holding classes in shifts. Perhaps it makes sense, but I just can’t wrap my head around a child going to school late in the morning or afternoon.

  8. Vinitha says:

    Gosh! I read your post and realize I never ever thought about such stuff. I am more go with the flow parent. It helps that both my work schedule and kuttyma’s daycare schedule are flexible. I don’t enforce sleeping times, waking times or snack times. If she is sleepy, she sleeps. If she is hungry she eats. I try to ensure that kuttyma knows her own mind. I know many books reinforce schedules and routines and I tried them when she was a newborn. Never worked. So we make our own routines with a lot of variances.
    Typical morning starts at 4am for me. 5.30am for her.
    I drop her off at daycare around 7.30am. She has an optional nap time at school. Somedays she sleeps and other days she says she just sits in the library corner reading books. I pick her up anytime between 3 and 5.30pm depending on my work schedule. I am usually in bed by 8pm with my book. Kuttyma gets to bed around 9pm after playing with her dad. This is a vague routine which varies quite a bit according to her mood and needs.

    While I agree about sleep – what do you do when your kid doesnt want to sleep? My daughter has always been a poor sleeper starting from the day she was born. At 4 she still wakes up 5+ times a night – to grab a drink or just coz she can’t sleep continuously. Often at nights she wakes up gets a book and starts reading. It is very relative and dependent on the child and I feel comfortable letting her make her own choices than ordering her to sleep continuously.

    • R's Mom says:

      Kuttyma gets up really early rey..5.30 is very early..Its good to have a flexible schedule as well no?

      about the not sleeping thing – may be you should try giving her slightly warm milk in the Amma says it works..

      But honestly, if a kid doesnt want to sleep, you cant force eh? look at the advantages, when she grows older, you dont have to worry about her being cranky about staying up late…I get so cranky when I dont get 8 hours of sleep!

  9. Nidaa says:

    Well… being a night owl, I dont know how I will manage this when I have a kid. you make it sound so easy 😀
    My school days- started with my mom’s gentle attempts to wake me and my sis getting louder and louder with each second. That was when the school timing was 9.30-3.30.
    I feel sooo bad for kids today having to get up at 5. the cold morning showers. no getting to eat hot breakfast as much as they want (bcz its too early and little time to prepare the food). poor things feel sooo drained by afternoons.
    9.30 timing is convenient for grumpy-useless in the morning souls like me. And I think we did find enough time for playing, hobbies, studies. But to make 7-1PM work, it needs some effort and sacrifice???
    After reading this, im afraid that im gonna be an irresponsible mother!

  10. techie2mom says:

    5 o’clock on weekend too!!! hugs RM..
    Zini too has an internal clock which wakes her up at 7 in the morning.. Sleeping on time definitely helps.. For now this waking time suits us..
    I went to a day school and i liked it. i used to have milk and early meal and would carry bhakhari-shaak, puris and similar stuff to school. Came back home when my mom came back from her office. This suited my parents too as they knew that we were safely at school while the were at office.

  11. I went to morning school in kindergarten, afternoon school from Std. 1 to 7, again morning school from Std. 8 to 12 – all in the same school, though. The timings kept changing as you progressed in your studies. Graduation and post-graduation college was from 12 to 3.30-4 in the afternoon. I remember being all happy and fresh and chirpy for morning school and classes, and tired by the end of the day during afternoon school. I did think afternoon classes took away a lot of my time, too. I didn’t have time to do anything in the mornings or evenings. Hence, I think I’d love for my son/daughter to go to morning school, too. Yes, you need to wake up early, but then there’s time for an afternoon nap, and then fresh and chirpy to take on homework/play in the evenings! 🙂

  12. Ashwathy says:

    Morning school, afternoon school… what is this anyway? I had different timings for my school during KG classes ONLY. Since then it has always been 9.30 to 3.30pm. Which I personally didn’t enjoy too much since it left very little of the day to enjoy.
    Hubby used to be in Saudi till he was 10 years old – his dad used to work there. The system used to have morning school… 7am to 1pm. As a result, the habit continues even today… he is an early riser and prefers mornings to late nights. He was traumatized when he was brought to India (they had to leave during the time of Kuwait war and airports being shut down) and he never properly adjusted into the timings in India. His studies suffered and his interest in school plunged.

    To answer the point, yes I think morning school is a great idea. And thank you for giving me an idea of R’s routine. Will come in handy one day. 🙂

  13. I am all for morning schools. My son is also an early riser and though he sleeps in the afternoons during summer, in winter I alter the schedule so that he gets some playtime and finishes his dinner by 7 pm and off to bed by 8 pm. In the morning I give him a variation in breakfast — one egg (water-podged, omlette, boiled or fried, whichever way he prefers) with one slice of lightly smeared with cheese spread or butter and one big cup of milk. Sometimes I give him a bowl of chocos in milk and a sandwich. Yes he does eat because he is hungry in the morning.

    • R's Mom says:

      The brat refuses to eat eggs..gah! you know what, I would love to have breakfast with you one day..all that egg variations have me going slrupppp…lucky boy of yours 🙂

      • hahaha! Most welcome. It was not that easy believe me. I had to tempt him with an omlette and sauce first. Then he wanted to taste what his chaachu was having, i.e. water podge and then he wanted to have a boiled egg because that’s what his grandfather was having and finally he wanted to a fried egg because that’s what his mom was having. so finally here I am with a boy who has an egg for breakfast. But then I was wondering what will I do when he goes to first next year, as the school timings will change and then there will be no time for this lavish breakfast that he enjoys so much. 🙂

  14. When I was in Oman, my school timings were 7 to 1 and I’d be home by 1:30. Once I went to India (from Year 6), the school timings were 9 to 3:30 and it took a lot of getting used to. I preferred the mornings only because I was able to get all my homework and studying done by 5 and then go out to play till 7 and be in bed by 8 or latest 9 to have to wake up again the next day around 5:30-6. On the other hand, in India, I didn’t have the time to play on the weekdays which really sucked, I’m all for morning school!!! Oh and 1115 to 515…what the hell??!!!

  15. vethal says:

    these days its soooo cold in bangalore to wake up in mornings. i am also a morning person

  16. Comfy says:

    The school that Buzz currently goes to has a long day, 9:15 – 4:00 but they have an hour and a half of nap time, a lot of play time and free choice time in the middle. So it is not really all structured teaching, which to my mind makes up for the long hours.
    Our day usually starts at 7:15 (7:30 if I have any say in it). I get the kids ready, make breakfast, while Buzz eats I get dressed and we leave home at 8:45 to get to her school on time. Evenings are bath time for kids, cooking/cleaning for me, homework, brush and bedtime at 8:30 for the kids. This works really well for us.
    Starting next year the kid’s school will start at 8:30 and I am mentally preparing myself for the change. By my calculation if the kids wake up by 7:00 they will be on time, so about 15 mins less sleep in the morning, but I am sure they will make up for it in the evening. But there is girl in Buzz’s class and her mom is super upset about this time change. Her daughter sleeps late at night and it is apparently already a challenge to wake her up at 8:00. Which is where I think it is all about the way things are at home. And that is very different from one house to another. Some people love their morning sleep (honestly I do too) but I chose to get some time to unwind for myself in the evenings and got both my kids on the early to bed, early to rise rhythm.
    For school timings I think it is a parent’s choice. And I actually believe if the choice is truly given it is a good thing. The parents know their kids well and in this busy life know their schedule well and if based on that they are allowed to pick school timings that work for them, I don’t think there is anything wrong at all.
    I remember we used to have 7:30 school in the winters. It used to be so cold and I was not too fond of it. Then we moved to Bangalore and the school timing were 9:00 – 3:00. After I got over the initial discomfort, owing to the total change of schedule, I loved it. I still got up early in the morning (5ish) but I had so much time to study, revise before exams and not feel rushed, I was old enough not to need a nap, which I guess helped as well.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t find one time better than the other, or am attached to one over the other. It is all about personal preference and what works for the family and the kid.

    • R's Mom says:

      1. Yes I do agree on the fact that to each family his/her own..
      2. I dont think you can qualify Buzz’s school timings as school timings because they do include the daycare timings as we call it in India. They have proper school for few hours only and after that its only unstructured play na…in that way R going to school from 7.30 am to 7 pm :):) thats not school eh?
      3. I think your routine makes a lot of sense to me. I would love to start at 7 myself 🙂

      okay, done 🙂

  17. Reema Sahay says:

    I agree with you and I had written as much on the post as well. I believe it is a good habit to inculcate. My son has also been a relatively early riser [but not 5.30 am thank God!]. He wakes up between 7-8 am. He is just over 2 years old. He will start Playschool soon and his waking up habits will gel well with a school timing of 9-11 am. I always put him for a nap between 1-2 pm. His bedtime routine which starts with dinner around 7.30-8 pm, usually ends around 9-9.30 pm. And as you mentioned, morning school will give them so much time for other things. But as Yamini mentioned, it is dangerous for kids not used to waking up early and trying to catch up on sleep during commute. It is hazardous! Parents must make sure the kids get sufficient hours of sleep.

  18. Megha says:

    I don’t have practical experience yet with regard to children, but based on case-controlled scientific studies, it appears that two things work well for children – routine and sufficient sleep. There are proteins in our body that work on a circardian cycle, and these are affected by light, so a morning heavy cycle makes sense. However, in our own home we have two opposite circardian cycles – I am on a 7am – 11pm cycle, while my husband is on 11am – 3am cycle. It’s just not physiologically possible for him to be effective outside these hours, so school (especially getting up that early) was difficult for him. My current understanding is that for the majority, a morning-heavy cycle works best, but there are outliers and while parenting your child’s natural circardian cycle needs to recognized, acknowledged and worked with.

    • R's Mom says:

      Routine and sufficient sleep – you just summed it up so so well!! I wrote an entire post trying to bring out the importance of these two points and here you are..did it in two words 🙂

  19. ashreyamom says:

    i think i too like morning school.. u get lot of time time in the evening to cultivate a hobby.. i feel i can do so much of work at home when i leave office early.. 🙂

  20. I loved reading this post because I am battling the same issues. I liked reading through the steps you are taking to make sure that R is well-fed. My son enjoys idlis and sugar so I pack that in his tiffin so that by the time breakfast is served in school, he isn’t too hungry. His bus comes to pick him up at 7.15 am and he reaches school by 8.30 am so I don’t want him to be hungry early morning. Sometimes I pack cheese sandwich and nuts too. He has a glass of milk before he gets into the bus but he does create a lot of fuss about it. The one difficult area that I am facing is to inculcate a proper sleep routine and i blame it on myself than on my son. He needs me to cuddle him up and sleep but most of the time, i get involved in last minute tasks that delays his sleep routine and he loves to sleep late and wake up groggy in the morning. I intend to change that for sure by being very disciplined about the sleep routine. Especially after reading your post. Keep writing :)))

    • R's Mom says:

      You could try giving him some dry fruits in the morning instead of milk.Sometimes kids dont like the taste of milk in the morning eh? Dry fruits, small banana or even some wheat flakes with milk?

      I guess we all have that issue about sleeping on time..because of the last minute work no? Hugs to both of you 🙂

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